I landed in Entebbe on Friday morning and took the bus up to Gulu on Sunday. I am now staying in Gulu town with a "commute" of under 5 minutes by foot to Gulu Prison. After securing housing on Monday morning, I began work at the prison health center. The Red Cross is running a mass TB screening at the prison, which has been an incredible (incredibly busy, too) experience. Working with the health team (both local and from Geneva), I've learned the basics of screening, sputum collection/examination and X-ray analysis. Today, the chief medical officer offered to take me on a site visit to a nearby prison in Pece. We met with two epileptic inmates whom we then brought back to Gulu Prison, where adequate healthcare services are available. It has been quite an experience observing and shadowing the team. I plan to start one-on-one interviews with the health officials once this mass screening winds down on Friday, as they are quite busy at this point.
Here is a quote from a book I'm reading, Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer. I have been mulling over its meaning and how it relates to my time here.
"As hard as concerned Americans have had to strain to understand the Zapatista revolt and its confusing and sorrowful aftermath, we will have to work harder to understand Mexican issues in the future. Our problem is not merely the media, or our notorious inability to learn another language. It is our entire evasive and mendacious culture, which (to the enormous profit of the megacompanies that feed it) makes our selfish decadence entertaining to us, sells us headsets that deafen us to crying injustices in our own country, and changes every real, complicated, painful struggle into a brief sensation of stars, or meteors, gloriously noble or wicked, always somehow erotically intriguing today, dead boring tomorrow. If in this culture we have to hide or fight to comprehend reality right here, we have to leave all that is familiar and comfortable to comprehend reality in Mexico." (John Womack Jr., Rebellion in Chiapas).
Coming back to Uganda has been a very real experience, in every sense of the word. Real in that the "honeymoon feeling" of stepping into a new place for the first time is not necessary there.